Turning transactions into conversations: A chat with Retail Leader

By : Tom Chittenden

August 21, 2018 12:00 AM

Recently, Retail Leader editor-in-chief Mike Troy visited NCR’s global headquarters offices in Atlanta and sat down with me and Dirk Izzo, SVP of our Industry Solutions Group, to talk about the concept of reinvention. It’s a popular buzz word in retail these days and can mean many things depending on the context, but our talk track kept going back to how reinvention relates to the changing interactions between brands and consumers. That is really the crux of the sea change we’re witnessing in the industry – the rapid shift from a relationship that has historically been transactional into one that is conversational and enables meaningful engagement.


This is especially important as retailers work toward the responsiveness and flexibility that consumers increasingly demand to earn share of wallet and loyalty. The conversational relationship with consumers can encompass a broad spectrum of areas and take on many forms. A few examples might include:


  • Intelligent, data-driven offers, promotions, discounts, and recommendations
  • Proximity marketing that influences buying behaviors – in relevant and meaningful ways – at the point of decision
  • AI-enabled self-service capabilities that “learn” over time to make the in-store shopping and checkout process smoother and faster
  • Consistent buy-anywhere, fulfill-anywhere options that accommodate consumer behaviors and preferences while maintaining a seamless experience with the brand
  • Timely and useful digital touchpoints that maintain dialog throughout the entire buying cycle, from list creation, to payment, receipt and coupon management
  • Non-sales oriented messaging (recipes from a supermarket brand, seasonal style previews from a clothing brand, etc.) that add value while fostering ongoing communication


During our discussion with Mike, we talked about what it will take to have these conversations in the future, as the world becomes more and more “phygital” – blurring the lines between physical and digital realms – and as the roles of various shopping channels grow and change. No matter what the “Next Big Thing” is (and there will always be a “Next Big Thing”), NCR is a company with a history spanning more than 130 years, and evolution is part of our heritage. To see examples of how we’re continuously helping retailers foster these conversations and relationships with consumers in ways that organically fit into their lives, visit us here: https://www.ncr.com/frictionless-checkout

Tom Chittenden

Vice President and General Manager – NCR Retail Solutions

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Tom leads the strategy and direction of the company’s retail business solutions worldwide, spanning the Food & Drug, Mass Merchandise, Petroleum & Convenience, and Department/Specialty segments. Prior to joining NCR, Tom held solution leader roles in numerous capacities within retail at GE, Wayne Fueling Systems and VeriFone.